Born in the 70s when our British mills, factories and warehouses were closing down to make way for a modern era, the industrial interior design style began its life as an unexpected moment of creativity; as new residents moved into these vast open spaces, they left the exposed pipes, steel vaulted ceilings and cement floors as they were and styled their interiors around it.
But it wasn’t until the late 2000s that industrial interior design truly boomed and took its place as one of the major schools of interior design. Within 10 years, this stunning design style had transformed city interiors around the world; from New-York loft style apartments, to ultra-cool Shoreditch cafes, to swanky Thames riverside restaurants.
So What Exactly Is the Industrial Interior Design Style?
Raw, unfinished and completely unashamed, industrial interior design is honest and authentic, showcasing its industrial roots with pride and liberating us from convention. Rather than concealing raw elements, this design style transforms ‘unsightly’ industrial materials into aspects of beauty. Entire bricks walls are left exposed, mazes of ceiling pipework become a striking display and steel staircases stand strong below lofty ceiling heights.
Industrial interior design creates a portal to the unique history of a building. It allows us to preserve and celebrate a certain part of our history and gives us a chance to tell a wonderful story.
So how do you get the industrial interior design ‘wow’ factor and do the building justice? Here we share our 8 tips to help you along the way.
1. Exposed Materials
Leave the inherent industrial materials of the building raw and untouched, and let them form the base of your moodboard. What colour are they? What texture? What material? What shape?
In our edgy Soho apartment design, we designed the interiors around the handsome Victorian factory windows and herringbone wooden flooring; the deep, steely green shades of the Designers Guild Matara Fern dining chair fabric and accent wall behind reflect the steel of the windows and the bookshelf’s rich tones echo the magnificent original flooring.
2. Unique Heritage
Tell the story of the building and let it take centre stage of your design. Bring the heritage to the forefront through the use of artwork, accessories and enhancement of the original features.
Once the Pathé Films headquarters in London’s Wardour Street, we were proud to design the interiors for this beautifully renovated building. We utilised high-spec industrial styling, blending antique brass fittings, stained black wood and engineered oak flooring with the factory style windows and rich textured fabrics.
We created a Pathé Films narrative throughout, dressing with old film reels, Pathé posters from the 70s, glamorous movie lighting and retro magazines.
3. Industrial and Organic
As materials that were at their peak during the industrial revolution, steel and iron often feature in old warehouses and factories. They blend seductively with rustic wood; a perfect harmony between the masculine and feminine, the engineered and organic, the resolute and the yielding.
This striking Copollo bookcase with eye-catching round steel frame and matt lacquered shelves contrasts with the wooden walls behind in our Pathè apartment design – warmly accented by the vibrant teal cushions and rug.
Again in our Pathè apartment design, this Graham and Green iron armchair in brass warmly companions the Eichholtz polished stainless steel desk with black faux marble and oak veneer.
4. Original Features
Enhance the original features of the building by making them a focal point; contrast colour or shape to create a striking impact.
In our industrial-style Soho apartment, the chic fan-cast ceiling light mirrors the arching windows, whilst the triangular lanterns add a linear contrast, drawing your eye towards the magnificent original windows and adding layers of shape and depth to the design.
Industrial interior design often goes hand in hand with utilitarian design; the concept that ‘form follows function’ and that interiors should be simple. Minimalism creates a striking look in industrial interiors allowing the space to exude integrity and clarity.
This sleek bespoke bench adds another layer of crisp, linear alignment to our minimalist design of this Pathé Soho apartment dining area, the table echoing the organic oak feel of the flooring.
During the industrial revolution, steel and iron were used often in lighting fixtures, plumbing and roofing structures e.g steel beams. To get the perfect industrial interior design look, use vintage themed lighting, ideally incorporating old metallic elements.
7. Vintage Furniture and Accessories
Again reinforcing the heritage values of the historic building, vintage furniture and accessories bring a charismatic charm to the industrial structure. Often found in thrift stores and antique markets, think; rich leather armchairs, old typewriters and mahogany swing table mirrors.
Continuing the old Pathè film studios theme throughout our design, we accessorised with unique pieces that we discovered in local London stores to draw upon the history of Pathè news.
Stunning artwork adds style and flair to industrial interior design decor. You can choose to continue your vintage theme within the artwork or opt for a striking modern piece.
We used invigorating abstract art in our historic Soho apartment scheme to reinforce the bespoke seating in rich Ashley Wilde Alaska Navy velvet.
If we can assist you with your industrial interior design, please feel free to get in touch.